A BUSINESSMAN’S £400,000 dream house built without planning approval has been reduced to rubble.

When Peter Howell built the property in Ingleby Arncliffe, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire, it sparked a five-year dispute with Hambleton District Council.

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The authority felt the house was dominant and visually intrusive in the small village because of its height, size and colour.

It placed a demolition order on the house in 2005, but Mr Howell lodged a series of legal challenges and planning appeals – all of which he lost. It is not known how much his legal bill came to.

The Planning Inspectorate dismissed Mr Howell’s last appeal in October.

Yesterday, a demolition team moved in, watched by council staff and the police, to knock down the three-bedroomed detached home.

Maurice Cann, the council’s head of planning, said: “Unfortunately, this is a consequence of someone not following the rules.

“He was advised on a number of occasions that he was building the house at his own risk, and after five years, this is the result. We spent several years trying to resolve this and, sadly, it has had to come down.”

Several villagers turned out to view the house being pulled down, and many said the structure had been a blight on the area.

Barbara Martin, who lives opposite the site, said: “I am thrilled to see it coming down and that the council has the courage and commitment to see this through.

“It shows that we ordinary people can have a voice. The building was too large and now it has gone.

“We know someone will buy the land and another a building will go onto it but, hopefully, it will be something more in keeping with a North Yorkshire village.”

Val Hammond, who lives in Priory Way, behind the house, said: “We are pleased that it is coming down.

People have got a little bit hot when it has been talked about. He had five years and if he had built it right in the first place, no one would have objected.”

Mr Howell, a property developer from Elton, near Stockton, was not present for the demolition, but has previously described the demolition as madness.

Ownership of the house had passed to the Royal Bank of Scotland after Mr Howell’s business went into liquidation.

The bank will retain ownership of the land, which will shortly be grassed over.